An American Society member reads the latest issue of the Guadalajara Reporter after lunch.
The American Society of Jalisco is housed in an elegant old house that once belonged to one of Guadalajara’s wealthy families.
The spacious rooms serve as a gathering place for English-speaking expatriates, who appreciate the company of like-minded people.
Because of a dwindling membership (down from a high of over 1,000 several years ago, to a little over 100 today), several of the rooms are rented out to local professionals. A thrift shop occupies what was once the garage.
An extensive lending library is available to members, and a shelf devoted to free books is open to anyone, and usually has one or two treasures. The day I stopped by I helped myself to The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury, The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver, and On Beauty by Zadie Smith.
Every Thursday lunch is served, and afterwards many members participate in card games or simply indulge in lively conversations.
A horse-drawn carriage wends its way through Guadalajara’s historic centro
Behind La Rotonda de los Jaliscienses Ilustres, the Monument to Jalisco’s Illustrious Persons, you’ll find about a half-dozen colorful horse-drawn carriages.
Tourists are drawn to them, of course, but so are local families. For a reasonable fee (an hour-and-thirty-minute ride for 490 pesos), you can view the area around the cathedral in stylish comfort.
Some people say that a carriage ride is especially enchanting at night, when the historic buildings are lit with floodlights.
The steady clip-clop of the horse’s hooves has a mesmerizing effect on the most jaded of travelers, and it’s not hard to imagine yourself back in colonial times, when only the wealthy could afford to ride in such a conveyance.
how many journeys ended
where this one begins
A fresco by José Clemente Orozco at the Instituto Cultural Cabañas
An oasis of calm in the midst of a bustling metropolis, the Instituto Cultural Cabañas offers harried travelers, as well as local residents, an opportunity to restore their souls in the presence of great works of art.
The magnificent frescoes of José Clemente Orozco are an invitation to introspection, even though some of the scenes are unsettling.
“[Orozco] did not paint everlasting certainties,” the brochure for visitors explains; rather, “he painted the anxiety for certitude.”
Orozco’s unflinching portrayal of the subjugation of México’s indigenous peoples to the Spanish conquistadores reminds us of the presence of evil in the world.
But to find these disturbing frescoes painted on the walls and ceiling of what was once the chapel of an orphanage gives us the hope that good can overcome evil.
Wander through the hallways and cloisters. Visit the various art exhibits. Pause to sit for a while on one of the many benches provided for visitors.
Explore the courtyards, and let your soul be soothed by the sound of water flowing from fountains.
Admire the neo-classical architecture of this structure that was completed in 1810, and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
And above all give thanks that a place of peace and serenity still stands in the turbulent opening decades of the 21st century.
in hidden places
reading summer’s clear scripture—